Darwin Barney to replace Devon Travis after knee injury flares up
Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis is checked on for a possible injury during the fifth inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, October 15, 2016 2:18PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 15, 2016 4:24PM EDT
CLEVELAND -- The Toronto Blue Jays replaced the ailing Devon Travis on their roster with Justin Smoak on Saturday, meaning the second baseman/leadoff hitter is done for the season
Travis, who has been nursing a bone bruise on his knee, exited in the fifth inning of Friday's 2-0 loss to the Indians in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. He was replaced in the game by Ryan Goins.
Travis, who said after the game he had felt a "super sharp pain in my knee," returned to Toronto to have an MRI on Saturday morning.
Toronto GM Ross Atkins said the latest knee injury was separate from the bone bruise.
"I'm not a doctor but my understanding is that these injuries are isolated," he told reporters prior to Saturday's game. "They're in the same area, but they're two independent injuries. It's not the same injury."
"We're optimistic he'll recover quickly and be ready to go for next year," he added.
Darwin Barney got the start at second base Saturday.
Toronto manager John Gibbons also made a switch in his batting lineup with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki moving up to No. 5 and catcher Russell Martin dropping to No. 6 for Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against Cleveland.
The Jays made the Travis roster move after getting the green light from Major League Baseball. It was somewhat of a grey area given that the injury was pre-existing.
"Travis underwent an MRI exam earlier today, and Dr. Gary Green, MLB medical director, confirmed the injury after communicating with the evaluating physician, as well as reviewing the test imaging and Travis' medical history," Major League Baseball said in a release.
Under MLB post-season rules, a club has to request permission from the commissioner's office to replace an injured player.
"The commissioner's office may approve or disapprove the request based on the specific facts and circumstances," the statement added. "In accordance with the rules, Travis will be ineligible to return in the World Series if the Blue Jays advance."
"We might not be able to use him anyway ... He's hurt pretty good," Gibbons mused out loud prior to Saturday's game.
Under the rules, The Jays had to replace Travis with a position player.
Travis missed two games of the ALDS with Texas, when he had his first MRI.
"He had the injury flare up a few days ago then it calmed down," said Gibbons. "Then it resurfaced (Friday) night."
Gibbons said Barney and Goins will rotate starts at second base depending on the pitcher they're facing. Smoak, a first baseman, was on the Jays' ALDS roster but saw limited action.
Barney said Travis leaves a big hole.
"We're going to try to do what we can to fill that big hole that Devon brings to this lineup," he said. "That guy is so diverse offensively that I don't think there's another guy on this team that can do what he does offensively, but hopefully we can go out there and play well."
Tulowitzki was hitting .333 in the post-season with seven hits in 21 at-bats going into Saturday's game. Martin was hitting .050 with just one hit in 20 at-bats.
Gibbons had rejected swapping the two when asked about it Friday night, saying the team had been on a good roll -- winning six straight -- prior to running into a hot pitcher in Corey Kluber.
The decision changed Saturday.
"As a coach or manager you sit there and you watch every day who's hot and who's not, that kind of thing." he explained. "But I also believe we've been on a nice roll, winning a lot of games on a nice little streak. I've watched it and experienced it, when things are going good, don't mess with things. Tulo has been hot, so we'll just flip those today. Since we got beat last night.
"But there is something to it, whether you like it or not, when things are going good, get out of the way, don't interrupt. I know some of you may not agree with that or like that but that is a fact."
The Jays did get pitcher Francisco Liriano back Saturday after he cleared concussion protocols.